Matt DiBenedetto has 10 career Cup starts at Richmond Raceway but none in the Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Mustang that he’ll drive in Saturday night’s 400-lapper on the three-quarter-mile oval.
Richmond normally hosts two Cup races a season, but this year’s April event was run at Darlington due to the coronavirus.
So, in addition to the pressure of trying to advance in the Playoffs after a disappointing result in the Playoff opener at Darlington Raceway, he’ll have to adapt to a first ride at Richmond in the No. 21 Mustang.
“That will be interesting,” DiBenedetto said. “We haven’t been there this year, so we don’t know what to expect.”
Richmond, with its relatively short length and low banking, has similarities to tracks like Phoenix Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where DiBenedetto has driven the Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Mustang.
“The track fits the mold of the ones where we’ve shown strength,” he said. “Short tracks have been good for us, and flat tracks.”
DiBenedetto finished 13th at Phoenix and sixth at New Hampshire, races which were won by drivers from Team Penske, which as an alliance with the No. 21 Wood Brothers team. Joey Logano won at Phoenix and Brad Keselowski at New Hampshire.
“Hopefully we will hit the set-up and be close when the race starts,” DiBenedetto said. “It’s a little bit of a guess, but I think it will fall into our team’s strength.”
There will be no qualifying or practice prior to the start of Saturday’s 400-lap race, which is scheduled to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on NBCSN.